What’s up? (January 2021)

Keyboard Playing has been calm for some months in 2020. It was however not forgotten. It’s alive again and some changes were made in the last weeks.

What the Holdup Was #

A Book Is Out, Including Short Stories of Mine #

First, why was the website “paused” for so long? Well, mainly because I worked on the self-publication of a book.

Our book's cover

This book is collection of short stories and illustrations from members of the writing/drawing community I’m part of. It includes propositions for our bimonthly challenges, written by Tony, Clément, sancho and myself, and drawn by vinzouille, Clément and Captain Jahmaica.

If you’re curious, you might want to read the lessons I learned from managing this project, or if you want to support the community, you may want to buy this book, though it’s available only in French.

What’s Changed on the Website? #

Progressive Enhancement (or Graceful Degradation) #

Ever since Hugo included ESBuild to handle JavaScript bundling, I’ve been tempted to move out of Rollup. However, I feared losing the Babel transpilation meant losing support for old browsers.

Then, I stumbled upon this post from The Ethically-Trained Programmer, and I retained two main ideas:

  • IE11 is end-of-line, so why should it provide the same experience as newer browsers?
  • If you don’t test on IE and only rely on Babel, your script is probably not working anyway.

I knew both of these points, of course, but seeing it written reminded me that maybe I could review how I supported IE11. Right enough, a quick IE11 test showed that it didn’t work anyway.

I inspired myself from the techniques Carl Johnson exposed in his post to make JS lighter, built by Hugo directly instead of using an additional Rollup + Babel step. So, I reduced the footprint of Keyboard Playing’s scripts while enhancing support for older browsers. I’m actually quite satisfied with the result and must agree with Carl: stopping support for IE11 is a key to progressive enhancement (or maybe a form of graceful degradation).

New Download Proxy Transformations #

The Download Proxy worked well and has helped me a few times since I deployed it last year, but base64 encoding is not the most user-friendly transformation. I added some others, two of which allow for getting the original file without a command line. Head to the dedicated post to learn more about it.

Brand-New .fr domain #

Finally, in November, I bought keyboardplaying.fr to take the place of my not-so-elegant fr.keyboardplaying.org. Not a big change, but still easier to remember for French-speaking readers.

What’s Next? #

On the blog side, there are still a lot of ideas to write about. I’ve tried to begin the habit of writing drafts and posts in advance, so that I can release posts more regularly, but I’ll be happy if each month has at least one post.

The website is still not fully what I imagined it to be. I still want to include a “print” stylesheet, author pages and other ideas I’ve been sitting on.

This has to be done among other projects I have, creative writing to do… Life as usual, then.